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Turkey's St. Taxiarchis Reopens After 92 Years

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Chicago's Greek America Foundation is collaborating with Crescent Street Films and Chrysovalantis Stamelos, to chronicle a major historical event in Turkey on May 31st, at St. Taxiarchis Greek Orthodox Church.

A homogenous Hellenic region in Turkey named Kydonies (Ayvali) located on the western coast of the nation, suffered horrific attacks in the beginning of the 20th century.  Over 30,000 Greeks that endured the manslaughters were deported to Greece, and the area was populated by Muslim followers.

However, the gigantic St. Taxiarchis Greek Orthodox Church miraculously survived. It was turned into a mosque in 1927, yet has remained unkept and unused for many years. Now, The Rahmi Koc Foundation recently gained control of the building from the Turkish government, and will reestablish it as a cultural center. Amazingly, the former Greek Orthodox Church will open for Orthodox services on holidays, throughout the entire year.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will conduct its first liturgy in 92 years, on May 31st. Stamelos, whose family originates from the region, has been researching the land from its location, in preparation for his documentary. The filmmaker stated: "As a Greek-American now living in Izmir, Turkey, one of my main creative goals is to document the latest developments in the preservation of the Hellenic heritage of Asia Minor. The opening and dedication of the church will be one of the most significant events in recent years", according to The Pappas Post.

The Greek America Foundation has created a donation page for contributions, aimed at $5,000 USD to cover production costs. The deadline arrives this Friday, May 30th. Greek America Foundation founder Gregory Pappas described: "The first liturgy in this historic church in almost a century is an epic moment we should make accessible to the world. This involves us culturally, politically, theologically and in so many other ways and needs to be shared". More information can be accessed at: https://greekamerica.site-ym.com/donations/donate.asp?id=11106.